Families linked by football, not phones

The Mornington Dragons' three mother-daughter combos are (from left) Jess Hill-McLean, Fiona...
The Mornington Dragons' three mother-daughter combos are (from left) Jess Hill-McLean, Fiona McLean, Becky McLachlan, Hannah Fox, Leeanne Jack and Shannon Sealy. PHOTO: STEPHEN JAQUIERY
The All Blacks may have the Barrett brothers, but a women's football team in Dunedin has gone one better.

The Mornington Dragons women's football team has three sets of mothers and daughters in this year's squad, but they say it was just a coincidence.

Jess Hill-McLean and her mother Fiona McLean, Hannah Fox and her mother, Becky McLachlan, and Shannon Sealy and her mother, Leeanne Jack, all play for the same team, which was formed at the start of the year.

"We came out of nowhere, really. None of us knew each other before this and now all of a sudden we've got a whole bunch of mothers and daughters kicking a football around," Ms Jack said.

The team was formed after an overwhelming response to a post that was shared across a "Mums in Dunedin" Facebook page looking for women to get involved

playing football.

This season is the first time the mothers and daughters have played football together, and half the team have never played football before, but are just focused on improving.

"We're playing against teams that all have heaps of experience together and we've all come together as a team with no experience. Most of us don't even have experience in football, so it's a big challenge that we're all enjoying," Ms Jack said.

Despite their lack of experience, Mrs McLachlan said they had been improving - helped in part by their opponents.

"What's really nice is that other teams we play against will often help coach us during the games and give us pointers, and their coaches are really supportive.

"Because the grade is rotational, we're coming up against the same teams a lot. As we go through the season, the other teams have been commenting on how much improvement they've seen in us, which is really nice."

And, far from mothers and daughters fighting on the pitch, Mrs McLachlan said the experience had been a great way for the families to bond.

"It's really nice in the age of technology to have something with the kids that we can do with them that's not sitting on phones and computers and we're getting out there doing stuff, which is awesome.".

The team takes on Roslyn Wakari Kaimanawas at the Oval this afternoon.

 - Eddy Bramley

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